The evaluation report released this month by the Council of Rural Research and Development Corporations’ Chairs confirms the value of Government and industry co-investment in primary production. The most comprehensive evaluation of rural research and development ever undertaken in Australia, Measuring economic, environmental and social returns from Rural Research and Development Corporations’ investment , has found for every dollar invested by the 15 Rural Research and Development Corporations (RDCs) projects return an average of $11. The undersigned, the peak industry bodies for Australian horticultural industries and members of Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL), support the co- investment model. Rural R&D investment has been a key Media Release - 4 November 2008 The Rudd Government has committed $300,000 over the next two years to continue an important surveillance program for pests and disease in Australia’s honey bee and pollination industries. The National Sentinel Hive Program was established in 2000 at 27 sea ports around the country to monitor for honey bee parasites and exotic bees. Recent outbreaks of bee diseases and pests have affected agricultural industries in a number of overseas countries. A House of Representatives Standing Committee inquiry this year recommended the National Sentinel Hive
factor in Australian farmers achieving among the highest productivity growth in the world for many years. The GVP for horticulture is currently $8.5 billion, up from $7.1 billion in 2005/06. In addition to the direct benefit to rural industries, the evaluation shows RDCs generate significant economic, social and environmental benefits in areas rural industries and the Australian Government have determined as priorities. In 2007/08 Horticulture Australia Limited invested $73 million into more than 1100 projects in areas such as biosecurity, climate change, natural resource management,marketaccess,productivity, value adding and improving the supply chain. While there are significant environmental and social benefits, because of the difficulty in measurement, these benefits are undervalued. The evaluation sought out 32 randomly Program be continued to help protect the Australian industry. Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke met last month with key industry representatives and chair of the Standing Committee, Federal Member for Lyons Dick Adams, to discuss issues facing the industry. “The Rudd Government recognises the importance of rigorous quarantine and biosecurity measures to protect our valuable agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries,” Mr Burke said. “The Australian honey bee industry is fortunate to be free so far of Varroa and other pests and disease affecting other countries – but we must remain vigilant.
“Inadditiontothe$300,000commitment, I also asked Roger Beale AO to respond to the honey bee inquiry’s findings in his report on our overall quarantine and biosecurity system.” According to figures released last week by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, the estimated gross value of honey and beeswax production in 2007-08 was $75 million. The figures show there were more than 1,700 commercial beekeepers in Australia during 2006-07.
Bees are also crucial for pollinating dozens of horticultural crops, as well as pastures, fodder and some broadacre crops. Horticulture Industries Support Findings In New Report Media Release
selected projects across the 15 RDCs to give an indication of average returns across the portfolio and 36 highly successful projects to determine what sort of returns could be generated. The sample of 32 randomly selected projects from a pool of 600 RDC projects delivered an average return of $11 for each dollar invested in 2007 dollars, while the sample of 36 highly successful projects will return $10.5 billion in quantified benefits. This is made up of $5.5 billion in direct benefits to the rural sector and $5 billion in spillover benefits to the wider community. The evaluation also demonstrates the strong collaboration between RDCs, rural industry, Government and research partners and shows significant benefits are generated in areas targeted by the National Research Priorities and Rural Research and Development Priorities.